PMT Delivers a Win – Exaggerated Claims Doom Plaintiff’s Case

PMT Delivers a Win – Exaggerated Claims Doom Plaintiff’s Case

By Shawn M. Weakland and Thomas M. Bona. Court: Supreme Court, Kings County Judge: Hon. Wayne P. Saitta Case Type: Automobile – Rear-end Accident Caption: Jerry Gonzalez v. Jaquan Hinson Index No.: 1108/2015 Decision Date: March 6, 2020 Decision: Jury 6 – 0 / All Issues Many people are prone to exaggeration and that also includes plaintiffs at trial. Contrary to some opinions, jurors are skeptical and they really  do evaluate and weigh the claims that are given to them by plaintiffs. However, a skilled trial attorney who has thoroughly prepared his case, can guide the jury to show where the plaintiff is exaggerating his claims. A recent case where we received a defense verdict at trial demonstrates how this is done. In Gonzalez v. Hinson, the plaintiff was struck in the rear by our client. Because a person is almost always at fault when this happens, plaintiff won summary judgment on liability and the trial proceeded on damages only. Plaintiff claimed serious injuries to his neck including a herniated disc which required fusion surgery and other herniated and bulging discs. Plaintiff claimed that because of his injuries, he had to leave the Marine reserves and could no longer participate in routine social activities including salsa dancing. He continued, however, to work in a warehouse operating a crane. Plaintiff claimed that his special damages were $100,000 which would be needed for future surgery. Plaintiff did not admit to any pre-existing back injuries and there was no proof of this. Our trial attorney argued the plaintiff’s injuries were non-existent and that his multiple level traumatic spinal injuries could not be...
Effective Cross-Examination: An Aggressive Defense Pays Off

Effective Cross-Examination: An Aggressive Defense Pays Off

Many jurors still have a Perry Mason like expectation of a trial. They expect a cross-examination of a witness that will expose, confront and break the witness. While this sometimes can happen, most cross-examinations of witnesses are more mundane. One of the risks of cross-examination is that the witness weathers the attack by the opposing attorney. In so doing, the witness is given a golden opportunity to explain their story once again and ends up looking stronger in the eyes of a jury because they took the “blows” and didn’t break. Another danger of cross-examination is that the attorney comes on too strong and invokes sympathy for the “badgered” witness in the eyes of the jury. Great trial attorneys know how to strike the right balance on cross-examination. They are prepared for cross-examination because they find the buried and hidden material that will discredit a witness, impeach their credibility and expose their lies to a jury. This kind of relentless questioning is hard to accomplish and the cross-examiner must be able to lead the witness into an unsuspecting trap and then pounce on the witness all the while keeping the jurors’ attention. This month we highlight Ernest J. Bernabei lll who obtained a defense verdict in a contentious attorney negligence case in Camden County Superior Court through effective cross-examination. View Ernest J. Bernabei lll’s bio Jury Deliberated Unanimous Defense Verdict Court: Camden County Superior Court Judge: Sherri Schweitzer Case Type: Professional Malpractice Caption: Frank Dippolito v Charles Nugent, Esq. Index No.: CAM-L-4605-14 Verdict Date: November 14, 2019 After three and half weeks of trial, Ernest Bernabei, with the assistance...
PMT Winning in Court: Battle Tough and Trial Ready (Jan 2020)

PMT Winning in Court: Battle Tough and Trial Ready (Jan 2020)

What makes a successful trial attorney? There are many people who are able to try cases, but there is a huge difference between trying a case and winning a case. Winning a case requires special skills that not everyone has. Among the skills needed are creativity and confidence. To successfully represent the client’s best interests, it is necessary to be able to see all the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence in the case. Then, develop a big picture so that a compelling story can be told to the jury. Jurors expect to hear a client’s side of the case and the top trial attorneys are able to craft an explanation or a reason why your client is not responsible. What makes our PMT trial attorneys so effective is it they search for and find that creative story and then confidently present it to the jury. This month we highlight two cases which our PMT trial attorneys successfully tried to defendants’ verdicts. These cases demonstrate the creativity and confidence that make our attorneys the best in the business. PMT Partner Lawrence J. Buchman – View Bio Court: Supreme Court, Queens County Judge: Judge Leslie J. Purificacion Case Type: Motor Vehicle Accident Caption: Sue Ann Frias v. NYCTA Index No.: 705139/2017 Verdict Date: Nov. 13, 2019 Decision: Jury Deliberated Defense Verdict On April 13, 2016, Sue Ann Frias, a 68 year old woman, fell on the Q24 bus of the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority because of an alleged unusual and violent sudden stop by the bus driver near the intersection of Atlantic and Rockaway Avenues.  The plaintiff claimed that...
Changes in Kings County As To Jury Selection and New Mandatory Alternative Dispute Resolution

Changes in Kings County As To Jury Selection and New Mandatory Alternative Dispute Resolution

By Marc H. Pillinger. New trial procedures will be going into effect on January 1, 2020, in Kings County.  When you select a jury after January 1, 2020, when you finish picking, you will immediately report for assignment and be sent out for trial on that day.  Under the new system, “cases will be assigned to a trial judge immediately upon selection of the jury.”  There will no longer be a pick and pass system for Supreme Court, Kings County.  So, hypothetically, if thirty cases are sent out to pick, Administrative Judge Knipel assures the Bar that he will have rooms to pick in the jury selection area.  Judge Knipel also stated that there should not be any “serious problem in terms of a backlog.”  This change was objected to by both the plaintiffs’ and the defendants’ bar. Furthermore, going forward, the “pick date” will be two weeks before Standards & Goals is reached instead of the current three. This change will require earlier planning for witnesses and experts.  It appears that Affidavits of Engagement will not be honored. Kings County has also started a new mandatory Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Plan.  This new procedure is to expedite the early resolution of civil litigation.  In the new system, according to Judge Knipel, approximately 45 to 60 cases will be randomly selected for ADR on a daily basis.  Many of these cases will be chosen for ADR 45 days after a Preliminary Conference is held.  This will result in ADR being held, in most cases, prior to depositions being conducted. This new program went into effect on November 12, 2019. ...
PMT Winning in Court: Battle Tough and Trial Ready (Dec 2019)

PMT Winning in Court: Battle Tough and Trial Ready (Dec 2019)

In our world of insurance work,  we are all aware that above 90% of cases settle before trial.  Indeed, some estimate that the number of cases that settle before trial could be greater than 95%.  The reasons for this are simple and obvious:  parties to a lawsuit, especially where insurance is involved, want to avoid the unknown and sometimes shocking verdicts that juries can render.  And yet we all know that sometimes a case just cannot be settled and must be tried.  Insurance companies, self-insureds and the clients all want to know if you have the experience to take a tough case to a jury verdict.  At PMT, our highly experienced team of trial attorneys is prepared to do just that because our PMT trial team is battle tough and trial-ready. This month we share 2 recent defense verdicts that Emeka Nwokoro received in back to back trials in Brooklyn and Orange County. View Emeka Nwokoro’s bio Jury Verdict on the Issue of Liability Court: Supreme Court, Orange County Judge: The Honorable Craig Stephen Brown Type of Case: Slip and Fall/Premises Liability Caption: Joseph R. Turano and Regina Turano v. Sutton Hill II, LLC, Value Realty, Inc., and Mead Sealcoating & Parking Lot Maintenance, Inc. Index No.: EF003199/2018 Verdict Date: November 6, 2019 Plaintiff Joseph Turano, a 75 year old retired bus driver who lives with his wife Regina Turano in Middletown, New York, alleged that on March 8, 2018, at approximately 7:45 a.m., at the parking lot in front of the residential apartment complex where he lives, while he was clearing snow from his car, he slipped and...
PMT Attorney Christopher Todd Delivers a Win

PMT Attorney Christopher Todd Delivers a Win

Christopher G. Todd of Pillinger Miller Tarallo represented a driver accused of striking a pedestrian in a crosswalk on Staten Island. Prior to trial, plaintiff was demanding the full policy, and later reduced her demand to $80,000. There was no offer and liability was tried in Kings County Supreme Court. Our pre-trial investigation was crucial in identifying and garnering the cooperation of an independent eyewitness to provide critical testimony at trial. What the evidence showed was that while plaintiff was crossing the street, a vehicle struck her and threw her into the side of our client’s car as he was legally making a left turn in front of her. The other driver fled the scene and was never identified. After hearing all the evidence, the jury unanimously determined our client was not at fault for the...